FTR sees rise in April trailer orders

FTR sees rise in April trailer orders

With 13,016 units sold, April saw 9% m/m and 45% y/y gains. However, trailer orders were still 20% below the average for the last 12 months.

FTR reports that U.S. trailer orders increased in April by 1,069 units to a total of 13,016 units, which is up 9% month-over-month and 45% year-over-year. Despite the gain, trailer orders were still 20% below the average for the last 12 months. The number of trailers ordered over the last 12 months increased to just over 199,000 units.

FTR says trailer production decreased by 3% m/m in April, totaling 22,975 units, and production was down 12% y/y. This build level aligns with the average April level over the past five years, according to FTR.

“With the truck freight market facing challenges, solid growth in April for both total van and major vocational trailer orders offers a few green shoots of optimism,” said Dan Moyer, senior analyst of commercial vehicles at FTR. “Unless this growth continues in the coming quarters, decreasing backlogs and high dealer trailer inventory levels will put further downward pressure on trailer build rates.”

Orders came in below production levels, causing backlogs to fall somewhat in April, shedding 5,060 units to end at slightly more than 147,000 units. FTR says this decrease in backlogs would have been about twice as large if not for an OEM revision of backlogs that resulted in a roughly 5,000-unit increase for dry van and total backlogs. With production and backlogs declining by a similar degree, there was no material change to the backlog-to-build ratio, which remains at 6.4 months, according to the company. FTR says this ratio, which is slightly below the average level for the last half of 2023 but is above the historical average before 2020, currently indicates little overall incentive for trailer manufacturers to adjust production levels.

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